would hire from competitors not with the aim of purchasing product knowledge or a feel for the market

but to directly acquire a client base and sales channel knowledge. Alternatively, in the consulting sector, poaching top-level talent from rivals is common practice. One of the best UK economists, Dr. Bill Robinson, was formerly employed by PricewaterhouseCoopers and then poached by rivaling Big Four accountancy firm KPMG in 2007. Robinson joined KPMG's forensic practice as head of economics in a client-facing role without major uproar (Jetuah, 2007).

Other industries are evidently much less affected by competitor recruitment dynamics. This may be the case when critical skills are easily trainable, widely available or only exist outside the own industry. To illustrate the latter, consider the example of the German energy market. After its liberalization in the second half of the 90s, firms such as E.ON, RWE, EnBW and Vattenfall that currently control more than 80 percent of German electricity supply decided not to poach from competitors. Instead, they chose a hunting ground outside their own industry, namely geared at firms of the consumer goods sector such as Procter & Gamble, Danone or Reckitt Benckiser. These firms were well known for generating marketing experts who know how to function in highly competitive, customeroriented markets – something unavailable among the energy market leaders but highly needed at that time. Similarly, firms within the consumer goods sector compete for employees from the automotive industry, being a reliable source of transferable insights on production process optimization due to established and long-lasting experience with ‘Kaizen’ or ‘Kanban’ processes.

Kaiser or Busch-Jaeger Elektro all being located in a North Rhine-Westphalia region called Schalksmuhle avoid poaching each other’s talents in an effort to prevent a war for talent that would damage the industry due to consequent bidding wars. salary rises. and decreasing trust levels. Other firms. Competitors that are located within geographic proximity may (tacitly) agree through a gentlemen’s agreement to cooperate instead of aggressively compete. Albrecht Jung. one of the leading executive search firms in the world. Finally. mutual forbearance could be another reason for not engaging in competitor recruitment. Various small and medium sized firms of the German electrical industry such as Berker.Besides the knowledge sought. . This effectively discourages competitors from luring away Egon Zehnder consultants when aiming to expand their client base. Rutenbeck Fernmeldetechnik. however. has managed to establish a very strong and powerful company name since its foundation in 1964. Through this strong reputation. they manage to bind clients to the firm rather than to individual consultants so that clients would not follow a single departing consultant to a directly competing executive search firm. Lumberg. Gunther Spelsberg. Egon Zehnder International. for instance. refrain from it if respective human capital is not sought. The previous examples have shown that companies of different industries attribute to competitor recruitment valuable benefits for their business performance primarily stemming from client contacts and knowledge or insights about industry standards or practices. Single firms within an otherwise aggressive industry may be relatively immune to competitor raids. within-industry differences might also exist.

In this dissertation. how it is experienced and what makes competitor recruits different from other external and internal recruits. and what are underlying motives and implications? . we let field practitioners reflect on – and determine – what competitor recruitment is. In particular. we aim at a clarification of factors that underlie endeavors (not) to engage in competitor recruitment. We thus explore in this dissertation: Under which conditions does competitor recruitment ideally occur and how.